Last night it got very cold here. The outdoor thermometer said it got down to –4C. I was worried about our water lines freezing but we seemed to have escaped unscathed.
Since we are seriously lacking in waterfalls this year compared to our other trips, we headed off to see Lower Calf Creek Falls.
To get there we first had to drive about 50 miles south on “All American Scenic Highway 12”. It deserves the title.
Some of the pictures are from the trip out in the morning and other from coming back in the afternoon depending on which were best. The afternoon was much better for long distance views.
We pulled out of campground, at 6800 feet in elevation, with a look at the mountains in the distance that we will have to climb to top out at 9600 feet.
We have no idea how this guy has enough business to make a living.
We got into the snow pretty fast.
These are taken near the top.
As soon as we went over the top the snow seemed to disappear even though we had not gone down very far.
We stopped at all the viewpoints, going and coming back.
It was pretty cold in the morning.
The views were much better in the afternoon. Here is a morning view of some mountains off in the distance.
And essentially the same view in the afternoon.
We saw one of the very serious European off road RVs.
On the way out in the morning we had seen a car with a very crunched in hood that looked like it had hit a deer. In the afternoon I almost hit one. I saw it out of the corner of my eye and slammed on the brakes. It swerved as well and I think we missed each other by less than 10 feet.
Then about a mile later I saw three more deer eating on the roadside. I went by very slowly and of course they decided to bound across the road in front of us.
Once we got close to our destination we went through a section of the highway call the Hog’s Back. You following the spine of a ridge with very deep canyons on either side. The picture doesn’t capture it because there was no place to stop to take the needed panorama to get more of a sense of how narrow it was.
At one pullout we got a view down into Calf Creek Canyon, that we were about to hike.
From the Hog’s Back you take a very steep 14% grade down the highway to exit at the trailhead. Now I would never take our RV on this highway because of all the long steep hills but we saw lots of rental RVs and even a Class A much bigger than ours.
The trailhead is back down at around 5500 feet in elevation. While it was still a bit cool it was great hiking weather.
We parked, paid our $5 entrance fee and walked through the campground to the trailhead. While I don’t miss sleeping in a tent I do miss some of the beautiful little campsites that you can only use if you do have a tent,
The hike is an out and back trail to the waterfall that is 5 km each way.
Initially the trail looked a lot like others we had done.
But then, what is all this green stuff and shade.
As you could see from the overview picture earlier, the canyon floor is covered in greenery due to the large supply of water from the creek.
There were some large petroglyphs on the far wall of the canyon, down in the lighter section of the flat wall.
The canyon was very wide with long gentle curves. It actually made the hike seem longer. You could see a point far off in the distance and you knew you had to get there and once you got there you could see the next corner also now far off in the distance.
Some flora and fauna that we saw on the way.
Getting closer. It just felt so different from any other hike this year with the sound of running water.
The falls are about 160 feet tall and are in a huge bowl with very high walls.
In the summer it is a popular swimming spot. The pool was really cold right now.
As you can see the waterfall is getting into the shadows. It faces south with a high wall to the west.
I read that you have to get here in the morning for the best pictures. We left the RV around 9 am and by the time we had driven the highway and stopped at all the viewpoints we didn’t start the hike until just before 11. I was worried that we were going to miss it. We got to the falls at 12:30 but by the time we left at around 1:30 the best was over. There were still a lot of people coming in.
We had lunch on the beach.
Here are some pictures from up on the Hog’s Back of what we think is the bowl where the falls are located.
And some more high up views of portions of the hike.
Heading back the sun was now on the eastern wall of the canyon so some different features were highlighted.
Jennie thought the mark at the center, below, looked like a running horse.
We always seem to move a lot faster going back so we were at the car at about 2:30.
As I said, we hit all the highway viewpoints on the way home.